More than a decade ago, I came across a little hand-drawn journal in a second-hand bookstore in Cambridge. Written by Dan Price, it was called the Moonlight Chronicles, and I was completely charmed by the beautiful drawings and the quirky descriptions of his life and travels. Ten years later, at another Cambridge store, I happened on another inspirational drawn travelogue. This one was called Carnet de Voyage, and the art, by Craig Thompson, is far more virtuosic than Price’s oddball line drawings. But the charm is the same: an eccentric aesthete takes you for a walkabout looking through their talented eyes. In this case, Thompson is traveling around France and Morocco. The artwork is really gorgeous.
I went on to buy Thompson’s larger opus Blankets, which is another amazing piece of work, and after that I tracked down his blog, Doot Doot Garden. The blog is fun because you get to see him unfold some of his creative process, from the tools he uses to unpublished sketches and work in progress. And, as with all cartoonists, you will eventually find a long thoughtful interview in The Comics Journal.
For some reason, I find comics artists as a rule to be far more articulate and engaging in describing their artistic process than a typical musician, writer, or purely visual artist. I’m not sure if that’s because of the nature of the work (being both graphical and narrative) or that I simply enjoy the medium. In any event, I highly recommend Blankets, Carnet de Voyage, and old copies of the Moonlight Chronicles, if you’re lucky enough to find some.